Not long ago, folks debated whether to get a real Christmas tree or go fake. Today, the debate is over whether a family can afford a Christmas tree, given the high price of almost everything else we need to sustain ourselves.

Data from the National Christmas Tree Association and the American Christmas Tree Association, as reported by Fox Business, shows the cost of Christmas trees has increased 10 percent from 2022. Fox reported the average price for a real Christmas tree is between $80 and $100.

"Artificial trees have been hit the hardest by the price surge, as basic trees start at around $85 and can go up to $1,000 or even more," Fox Business reported.

How New Bedford Area Christmas Tree Prices Compare
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media
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ACTA executive director Jami Warner told Fox artificial Christmas tree costs "vary depending on the producer, retailer, size, shape, and features such as pre-lit options."

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I investigated to determine the average price and the availability of artificial and natural Christmas trees in the New Bedford area.

I visited Rocky's Ace Hardware in Fairhaven and the Lowe's and Home Depot stores in Dartmouth because each sells natural and artificial trees, and each is somewhere I would look if I were in the market for a Christmas tree.

How New Bedford Area Christmas Tree Prices Compare
Barry Richard/Townsquare Meda
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The prices for natural trees were similar in all three locations, between $59.99 and $72. Supplies appeared to be limited. The price for an artificial tree ranged from $69 for a seven-foot, unlit tree at Lowe's to $498 for a nine-foot, unlit Scotch Pine at Home Depot.

The pre-lit trees at all three locations generally cost between $99 and $499, with the average price in the $200 range.

Christmas trees are expensive, whether you are looking for an artificial or natural tree. While supplies of artificial trees appeared plentiful at the locations I visited, supplies of natural trees appeared to be dwindling.

I suspect that to avoid waste, retailers are stocking fewer natural trees this season.

How New Bedford Area Christmas Tree Prices Compare
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media
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Market Basket's Best Christmas Themed Service Desks

The crews at Market Basket locations across New England got into the holiday spirit big time this year, decking out store customer service desks to the nines. From full-on log cabins to crazy Whoville decor, the stores that made the company's top 10 list did not disappoint. Here are the best-decorated help desks, according to Market Basket Facebook voters.

Gallery Credit: Nancy Hall

See Rhode Island's Largest Christmas Display

With 650 lighted trees and an 18-foot-tall talking snowman, Pawtucket's Winter Wonderland is a holiday display like no other. And the best part is, you can see these 30 acres of lights absolutely free.

Gallery Credit: Nancy Hall

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